I was sitting at home this evening, reading blogs and waiting for my wife to come home from work when the doorbell rang.
Since I haven't ordered anything lately from Amazon.com, I knew it was the Church. Which should tell you something about the state of our social life, but that's not the point.
It's been almost ten months since I moved and they finally tracked me down. I suspect my parents were involved, but who really knows? Maybe some data-mining retiree on a second mission for the church finally turned up my postal forwarding order.
I actually recognized the two men standing on my doorstep. When I went to church twice last fall, I only talked to three people, and now two-thirds of them were here. So when they asked if they could come in, I felt like it would have been rude not to let them. After all, I had come to church of my own free will just a couple months ago, it would have been weird to say that now I didn't want any contact.
Both of the guys were very nice and we only talked about our families, sports, and home maintenance. It reminded me that I don't really have local friends or a social network since I moved. I don't know any of my neighbors and I don't have the opportunity to meet new people besides at work.
For perhaps the first time in my life, I felt comfortable around my would-be reactivators. I think it was because I knew that the possibility of me regaining my belief is zero. But that doesn't mean that I can't be social with people who still do believe. There is no reason people with a lot in common can't be friends without any religious overtones.
I realize that part of my ease comes from the fact that I know my wife is an unlikely candidate for Mormonism and my children are still safely ensconced in the future (hopefully). The dynamic changes completely when other family members are involved. But for now, I feel good about our interaction. The only time they even broached religion was to ask me if I wanted home teachers or if I wanted to be informed of ward activities (I swiftly nixed both ideas). I told them that I was completely uninterested in anything religious.
It's kind of nice when church recedes into its proper place (in my opinion) in your life. How much unhappiness could we avoid by just treating church like any other social society? As Ann says, it's just church. It's only taken me 29 years to finally believe it.